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News for 16 May 2019

ll the news for Thursday 16 May 2019

Kookaburras Score Four To Soar Past India

Ben Somerford

Doubles from Blake Govers and Jeremy Hayward have helped the Kookaburras to a 4-0 win over world number five India in the first of their two-match Test series in Perth.

Govers opened the scoring with a stroke in the 15th minute before Hayward added a second with a trademark drag flick which was too good for India keeper Krishan Pathak.

After an end-to-end second period, India pushed Australia in the third quarter before removing their goalkeeper for an outfield player in the final five minutes, allowing the hosts to capitalise.

Hayward fired in from a short corner in the 59th minute, while Govers shot high into the unguarded net to make it 4-0 and round out the win in front of more than 1,100 fans.

The match was closer than the score line suggested although the Kookaburras will be content with the win as they prepare for the European leg of the FIH Pro League next month.

The two nations will do battle again at Perth Hockey Stadium from 6:30pm AWST on Friday night, live on Hockey Australia’s Youtube channel.

India had the first chance from a short corner but it was Australia who opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time when they won a penalty stroke after a foul from keeper Sreejesh Parattu from a PC.

Wollongong forward Govers stepped up to send Sreejesh the wrong way with a powerful stroke for 1-0.

India came close in the 19th minute when Birendra Lakra’s deflected drive hit the side-netting before Australia immediately went down the other end and scored.

The world number two Kookaburras won a short corner from the resulting counter-attack which Hayward rifled past Pathak.

Aaron Kleinschmidt shot wide in the 24th minute after Lachlan Sharp and Tim Brand combined in a fast break.

Harmanpreet Singh tested the Australian defence from a corner before another Kleinschmidt chance fizzed across goal eluding Govers at the back post.

In just his second cap for Australia, the impressive Johan Durst made a fine double save from an Indian 26th minute penalty corner.

India bossed the play in the third quarter although they were unable to generate any clear-cut chances on goal.

Akashdeep Singh forced another good block from Durst in the 52nd minute, while Flynn Ogilvie thwarted Harmanpreet’s flick on the line from a short corner as India mounted more pressure.

Jake Whetton and Tom Craig almost combined to set up a sliding Brand with five minutes to go, as the Indians removed their goalkeeper to provide a numerical advantage up the field.

It didn’t pay off as Australia pushed forward with Whetton’s angled effort hitting the post, then an Indian boot inside the D, allowing Hayward to fire into the net from a short corner without an opposition goalkeeper.

Govers added another in the absence of an Indian goalkeeper, dribbling inside the shooting circle before firing a high shot into the back of the net.

Australia 4 (Govers 15’, 60’, Hayward 20’, 59’)
India 0

Hockey Australia media release

Hockey boys go 0-4 Down Under

The Indian hockey team defenders engage an Australian striker on Wednesday. hi

The Indian men’s hockey team were blanked 4-0 by world No. 2 Australia in the fourth match of the Australian tour, with Blake Govers and Jeremy Hayward scoring two goals each for the hosts.

After remaining unbeaten in their first three matches of the tour, world No. 5 India were handed a lesson in hockey by the Kookaburras with Govers (15th, 60th mins) and Hayward (20th, 59th mins) finding the net twice each. India started the match well as they pressed Australia higher up the field, but were dealt two successive blows in five minutes. The visitors had earned themselves an early penalty corner in the fifth minute but Harmanpreet Singh’s shot was successfully blocked by the first rusher.

In the 12th minute, Harmanpreet was in action again as he played one-two with Nilakanta Sharma on the right flank, who played in a well-calculated through-ball back to the defender, who failed to reach the ball quickly enough. Seconds from the end of the first quarter, Australia secured their first penalty corner, which resulted in a penalty stroke for the hosts and Govers made no mistake from the set-piece.

Five minutes into the second quarter, Australia earned back-to-back penalty corners and from the second chance Hayward beautifully flicked the ball low into the right side of the goal past India goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak to double their lead. But three minutes later, Pathak came to India’s rescue to deny Australia from another penalty corner opportunity. Aaron Kleinschmidt then missed a great chance for Australia in the 25th minute as he found himself unmarked inside the box, but his shot went wide of the post. Struggling to keep possession, India won their fifth penalty corner through Sumit Kumar but the Australian goalkeeper Johan Durst made a brilliant double-save to deny Harmanpreet. Australia’s fifth penalty corner in the last minute of the second quarter saw Trent Mitton’s shot forcing a great save from Pathak on his right, which meant Australia took their two-goal advantage into the half-time break.

The third quarter, however, witnessed a close battle between both the teams but Australia defended stoutly to keep the Indian strikers at bay. India started the last quarter well and it was captain Manpreet Singh who created the first chance as he ran into the striking circle and shot at goal but Australia’s Durst made a diving stop on his left side to deny the visitors.

India secured another penalty corner in the 51st minute but Harmanpreet’s effort was once again saved by the Australian custodian. Desperate in search of goals, India withdrew their goalkeeper for an extra outfield player but the move backfired as Australia scored two goals in the last two minutes. Australia’s third goal came off a penalty corner conversion by Hayward before Govers scored through a fierce reverse-shot to round off a disappointing day for the Indians.


Australia: 4 Blake
Govers (15’, 60’)
Jeremy Hayward (20’, 59’)
India: 0

The Tribune

Zalewski: 4-0 Score Line Flattered Kookaburras

Ben Somerford

Kookaburras co-captain Aran Zalewski admits Wednesday’s 4-0 score line over India flattered the home side and they’ll need to improve for Friday’s second Test match at Perth Hockey Stadium.

Braces from Blake Govers and Jeremy Hayward sealed Wednesday’s win over world number five India, although two of those goals came in the final few minutes once India had aggressively replaced their goalkeeper with an outfield player.

India had their chances throughout the contest with Australia goalkeeper Johan Durst, in his second international appearance, proving one of the best sides best afield.

The two nations meet again at 6:30pm AWST on Friday night at the Perth Hockey Stadium, with Zalewski hoping for an improved display.

“It was 2-0 for most of the game and we gave away enough opportunities for India to score,” Zalewski said.

“They took off their goalkeeper at the end which backfired a bit as we put in two without a goalie. Four-nil was flattering.”

Kookaburras coach Colin Batch is likely to opt to rotate his squad for the second Test on Friday.

Zalewski added: “Obviously our main focus at the moment is the FIH Pro League but having these Tests against India is great for us.

“We head to Europe on the June 4, so to have these top-up games are great additions to our calendar.

“It gives an opportunity to our whole squad to get some quality matches against India.”

The two-match Test series will be the Kookaburras’ last matches before they head for Europe to play Great Britain, Spain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands in the final few rounds of the FIH Pro League regular season.

Australia currently top the FIH Pro League men’s standings and will want to be in the box seat for the finals to be played between the top four in the Netherlands in late June.

Tickets for Friday’s Tests are available on the gate, at $10 for adults, $5 for children/concession and free for kids under 10.

The Test will be live streamed on Hockey Australia’s official YouTube channel.

Friday 17 May 2019 – Perth Hockey Stadium
Kookaburras v India – 6:30pm AWST (Gates open 4pm AWST)

*Tickets $10 adults, $5 child/concession, free for children under 10

Hockey Australia media release

Canada take opening series match victory over Scotland in Glasgow

Canada were the victors with a 4-1 win in the first of five matches against Scotland at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.

It was a contest that saw Fiona Burnet win her 50th cap for Scotland and Jess Buchanan earn first cap for her country.

Scotland v Canada – photo by Duncan Gray

Scotland had good possession in the early stages and the first chance of the game fell to McKenzie Bell, after some good interchange by Lucy Lanigan and Nikki Alexander Lloyd, but the ball was stuck under Bell’s stick and the chance evaded her.

Lucy Camlin was called into action at a Canadian penalty corner but she easily padded the ball clear.

Into the second quarter and the visitors started to edge the possession, though Scotland was solid in defence.

Camlin made a great save high under her crossbar after Hannah Haughn let fly on the reverse, as Canada pressed.

Then Canada opened the scoring. Nikki Woodcroft was on hand as she forced the ball over the line at a penalty corner to make it 1-0 for the visitors.

Scotland v Canada – photo by Duncan Gray

Canada continued to threaten into the second half and some excellent defending by Becky Ward cleared the danger as the Canadians piled into the Scotland D.

Some persistence by Charlotte Watson; Sarah Jamieson and Kate Holmes took Scotland up the pitch and won a penalty corner. A lovely penalty corner routine followed and Charlotte Watson swept the ball into the net to make it 1-1.

Canada racked up the penalty corners and Steph Norlander made it 2-1 on the turn close to the line. Minutes later it went to 3-1 when Haughn deflected the ball into the roof of the net.

A fourth came quickly and a swift break down the right cut Scotland open and Holly Stewart had a far post tap-in to make it 4-1.

Jen Eadie had an effort from a penalty corner to try and pull one back for Scotland but the Kaitlyn Williams in goal for Canada saved well to her right.

In the end it was a solid win for Canada and the teams meet again tomorrow at 7pm to play out their second contest in Glasgow.


    Wed 15 May | 7pm | Scotland 1-4 Canada
    Thurs 16 May | 7pm | Scotland v Canada & Scotland Performance Squad v France (5pm)
    Fri 17 May | 3pm | Scotland Performance Squad v France

    Sat 18 May | 3pm | Scotland v Canada 
    Sun 19 May | 12:30pm | Scotland v Canada & Scotland Performance Squad v France (10.00am)
    Tues 21 May | 7pm | Scotland v Canada

Scottish Hockey Union media release

FIH Pro League Preview: GB v Argentina

Great Britain’s men and women face Argentina on Saturday 18 May in the first home FIH Pro League double header.

Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre will play host to the day’s action in which both reigning Olympic champions will be on show with the games starting from 1pm

Repeating history the target for Great Britain’s men

Great Britain’s men’s side will go into Saturday’s encounter full of belief that they can take away a positive result having emphatically defeated Los Leones 5-1 the last time these sides met.

It was a one-sided encounter in Rosario when GB travelled to face Argentina earlier on in the FIH Pro League, Phil Roper and Alan Forsyth bagging braces in that game.

With 26 circle entries and 15 shots during that game, Great Britain showed their attacking powers and will be hoping to replicate that prolificacy at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Saturday in the first-match of the day (1pm pushback).

Since toppling Argentina last time out, GB are yet to lose a match having picked up three points against Germany and drawn against Spain.

Despite only edging past the Germans, GB showed their defensive resolve to keep the hosts out and leave Moenchengladbach with maximum points.

Though Spain were to find a way through last time out as both teams were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw, Great Britain are averaging the fewest goals conceded per game in the FIH Pro League having only conceded 11 goals from six games with no other side averaging under two goals a game.

22-year-old Tom Sorsby is in line to make his international debut this weekend after being named in Danny Kerry’s squad for the upcoming double headers.

Rhys Smith and Liam Ansell have also been added to the 20-man squad with Luke Taylor dropping out.

GB’s women hoping for upturn in fortunes

Though Great Britain’s women were in the ascendancy for much of their match against China last time out, they were unable to find a way to victory and fell to a 2-1 defeat despite having double the amount of shots of their opponents (10).

It’s been a frustrating start to the home FIH Pro League matches for Great Britain’s women who have looked strong at times during their two recent games but are finding their opening win at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre elusive.

Last time Great Britain’s women faced Argentina in the FIH Pro League, it was Las Leonas who came out on top with a 4-2 victory in Rosario. A close game in which GB just edged the possession count and, despite only having one more shot, Argentina’s clinical finishing saw them through.

Grace Balsdon, who scored a phenomenal drag flick against Argentina last time out, will pick up her 50th Great Britain cap should she feature in Saturday’s game which get’s underway at 3pm.

2016 Rio Olympic gold medallist Susannah Townsend looks set to feature in her first match of the year after being named in Mark Hager’s 21-strong squad. The GB star hasn’t made an international appearance since picking up an injury in the November 2018 Champions Trophy.

18-year-old Izzy Petter could also make her senior international debut this weekend having received her first ever call up. Jo Hunter, Sabbie Heesh and Sarah Jones also come into the squad whilst Nicki Cochrane and Alex Malzer drop out from the side that faced China.

Townsend The Pride

Los Leones looking to find form ahead of away trips

After playing all their home games, Argentina’s men will be looking to start their run of five consecutive away matches well when they face Great Britain at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

Having already played nine matches in the FIH Pro League, Argentina have made a strong start to the competition in their home games. But with only two away matches played so far, a 2-1 victory over New Zealand and 3-2 defeat to Australia, Argentina will need to string together some strong performances if they’re to break into the top four.

Recording four wins, four losses and a draw from their matches, the reigning Olympic champions currently sit fifth in the FIH Pro League table.

Los Leones have a potent strike force with both Matias Paredes and Maico Casella recording five goals in the FIH Pro League, only Pau Quemada (8) and Great Britain’s Phil Roper (6) have scored more.

Las Leonas hoping to maintain incredible unbeaten run

Argentina’s women’s team will be full of confidence heading into their clash against GB with the team undefeated in their last eight matches, their last loss coming against the Netherlands in February.

Currently sitting second and looking to keep the pressure on the Netherlands, Argentina will know they can’t afford to drop a point in their final five away games if they want to stand a chance of finishing in top spot.

Winning seven of their last eight matches, alongside a notable draw against a strong Australian side who they defeated in the shootout, Argentina have been in imperious form over the past couple of months.

Last time out, Las Leonas thumped the USA 4-0 with a dominant performance and will travel to London full of confidence.

When the sides last met, it was a competitive game in Rosario as a clinical Argentina side took the three points with a 4-2 victory. Despite not coming away with the victory, it was a positive showing from Great Britain who scored twice against a formidable defence that had kept four consecutive clean sheets in the build-up to that game.

Following the Great Britain match, Las Leonas will only have three games left in the FIH Pro League including an away trip to face the Netherlands in a game which could be significant in deciding which team finishes top.

Great Britain Hockey media release

Gold medallist Townsend returns as squads named for double headers

Great Britain's Susannah Townsend

Great Britain’s squads for this weekend's games with Argentina and Belgium have been announced.

There are 20 players selected for Danny Kerry’s men's side, with women's coach Mark Hager naming 21 for this weekend’s FIH Pro League matches in London.

Rio 2016 gold medallist Susannah Townsend will make her first appearance in six months after being included in an international squad for the first time since sustaining an injury at the 2018 Champions Trophy in November, whilst 18-year-old Izzy Petter could make her international debut.

Jo Hunter, Sabbie Heesh and Wales’ Sarah Jones have also come into the squad with Alex Malzer and Scotland’s Nicki Cochrane dropping out.

Grace Balsdon, who scored against Argentina earlier in the FIH Pro League, is one appearance away from reaching 50 international caps and could hit the milestone over the weekend.

For the men's team, there could also be an international debut for 22-year-old Tom Sorsby who comes into an FIH Pro League squad for the first time. Liam Ansell and Rhys Smith have also been named in the squad whilst Luke Taylor misses out.

Women’s squad:
Giselle Ansley (Surbiton) (ENG)
Grace Balsdon (Canterbury) (ENG)
Amy Costello (University of Birmingham) (SCO)
Emily Defroand (Surbiton) (ENG)
Sarah Evans (Surbiton) (ENG)
Sabbie Heesh (Surbiton) (ENG) (GK)
Tess Howard (Durham University) (ENG)
Jo Hunter (Surbiton) (ENG)
Sarah Jones (Holcombe) (WAL)
Hannah Martin (Surbiton) (ENG)
Lily Owsley (University of Birmingham) (ENG)
Hollie Pearne-Webb (Surbiton) (ENG) (C)
Izzy Petter (Surbiton) (ENG)
Suzy Petty (Wimbledon) (ENG)
Ellie Rayer (East Grinstead) (ENG)
Sarah Robertson (Hampstead & Westminster) (SCO)
Erica Sanders (Surbiton) (ENG)
Amy Tennant (Reading) (ENG) (GK)
Anna Toman (Wimbledon) (ENG)
Susannah Townsend (Canterbury) (ENG)
Laura Unsworth (East Grinstead) (ENG)

Danny Kerry

Men’s squad:
Liam Ansell (East Grinstead) (ENG)
David Ames (Holcombe) (ENG)
Will Calnan (Hampstead & Westminster) (ENG)
David Condon (East Grinstead) (ENG)
Brendan Creed (Surbiton) (ENG)
Adam Dixon (Beeston) (ENG) (C)
Alan Forsyth (Surbiton) (SCO)
James Gall (Surbiton) (ENG)
Harry Gibson (Surbiton) (ENG) (GK)
Chris Griffiths (East Grinstead) (ENG)
Harry Martin (Hampstead & Westminster) (ENG)
George Pinner (Holcombe) (ENG) (GK)
Phil Roper (Wimbledon) (ENG)
Ian Sloan (Wimbledon) (ENG)
Rhys Smith (East Grinstead) (ENG)
Tom Sorsby (Surbiton) (ENG)
Zach Wallace (Surbiton) (ENG)
Jack Waller (Wimbledon) (ENG)
Sam Ward (Old Georgians) (ENG)
Ollie Willars (Beeston) (ENG)

Saturday 18 May:
Great Britain women vs Argentina 1pm
Great Britain men vs Argentina 3pm

Sun 19 May
Great Britain women vs Belgium 1pm
Great Britain men vs Belgium 3pm

All four games are at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Great Britain Hockey media release

FIH Pro League Scouting Report: USWNT vs. China

In anticipation of the U.S. Women's National Team's upcoming FIH Pro League match, here is a scouting report you’ll want to review before the starting whistle.

Game Day: Saturday, May 18, 2019

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Location: Spooky Nook Sports, Lancaster, Pa.

Live Stream: Don't miss a second of the FIH Pro League action and watch the USWNT takes on China this Saturday. The FIH has signed a four-year media rights agreement with Bleacher Report Live for the territories of Canada and the United States. Bleacher Report Live is operated by Turner Sports, a division of WarnerMedia. The platform, which is Turner’s live sports streaming service, will be the primary destination for all fans to watch FIH Pro League matches.

FIH Pro League single games are available paid per view for $2.99 per match or $19.99 for the FIH Pro League 2019 Season Pass (all matches). Click here for the FIH Pro League live stream landing page.

Opponent: China

FIH World Ranking: 10

Head to Head: The last time USA and China went head to head was in the 7th/8th place game of the 2017 Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final in Auckland, New Zealand. A true battle, tied after the first quarter, the remaining saw a variation of goals produced from both sides as USA tallied five more to China’s three as the red, white and blue came out on top 6-4.

Prior to that these two teams met at the 2015 Hawke’s Bay Cup where China came out the victors.

Head to Head
(since 2013)

4 Previous Matches
0 Draws





Total Goals


What You Need to Know: Following a difficult Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 where they failed to get out of their pool and subsequently finished last (16th) in the standings, 2002 Champions Trophy winners China produced some good performances at the Asian Games in Jakarta, claiming the bronze medal with a 2-1 victory over Korea. Gu Bingfeng – who finished as the competition's top scorer with 13 goals – and Song Xiaoming were on target to ensure that the tenure of Head Coach Jamilon Mülders ended on a high note. The team was then lucky enough to compete at the Wanglibao Hockey Champions Trophy - at Changzhou’s Wujin Hockey Stadium, China’s home venue for the FIH Pro League – where they finished fourth. Yi Jiao was a particularly impressive performer at that event and also throughout the year, with the 24-year-old shot-stopper earning a nomination for FIH Goalkeeper of the Year for 2018 in the process.

Recap of China's Previous Game: China recorded their third FIH Pro League victory on the road, getting the better of hosts Great Britain at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

All of the goals came in the third quarter of the match, with Great Britain’s Giselle Ansley netting a penalty corner to cancel out Ou Zixia’s deflected opener before Peng Yang scored what proved to be the winner with a superb penalty corner deflection in the 44th minute.

There were chances for both sides in two very even opening two quarters, but neither side could make the most of their opportunities. No. 2 Great Britain- who claimed a bonus point in the reverse fixture in Changzhou thanks to a shootout victory - largely dominated the second quarter, but No. 10 China were organized in defense and soak up the pressure throughout.

The game burst into life in the third quarter, with Great Britain’s Tessa Howard stinging the hands of China goalkeeper Ye Jiao in the opening seconds of a frenetic period. China took the lead rather fortuitously when Ou Zixia’s attempted pass from the right was kicked into her own net by the back-tracking Anna Toman, but Giselle Ansley soon leveled with a low penalty corner effort that clipped the pads of Ye before finding the bottom right corner. China restored their lead before the end of the period, with Peng Yang scoring a brilliant penalty corner deflection to give the visitors a lead going into the final period.

Great Britain put the visitors under great pressure in the fourth quarter but could not get the breakthrough, with China’s defense showing full commitment to claim all three points from the contest.

China's Roster: Click Here

USFHA media release

Is this the busiest couple in sport? GB hockey's Hunter and Pinner on Pro League travels

By Becky Grey

Pinner and Hunter got married in 2017

If you feel overwhelmingly busy and are wondering how it is May already, spare a thought for married Great Britain hockey couple Jo Hunter and George Pinner.

Between them, the pair have played hockey in eight different countries since January because of the newly formed FIH Pro League, which involves eight men's and nine women's teams playing home and away fixtures.

That means a lot of air miles for Hunter and Pinner - who also have part-time jobs as an accountant and insurance broker.

"We've never travelled to the extent of what we've experienced this year," said 27-year-old Commonwealth and European bronze medallist Hunter. "Time has absolutely flown by.

"We're now in barbecue season and you think 'What? Where has the first half of the year gone?' My Christmas present this year was a family calendar. There's only two of us but I've got every single column full.

"You've got to plan everything in advance and whenever anyone asks if we're around we have to check both diaries to see if we're in the country, let alone free."

Hunter and Pinner's family calendar:

    25 January: Pinner played in Spain
    8 February: Both played in New Zealand
    16 February: Both played in Australia
    23 February: Hunter played in China
    31 March : Hunter played in the USA
    6 April: Both played in Argentina
    24-28 April: Both played in Germany
    27 April - 3 May: Both played in the UK

GB's men are third in the Pro League table after winning four of their six games, while the women are seventh after only one win in eight matches.

After Danny Kerry left to coach the men's side, Mark Hager became the women's coach in January and the side is still going through a period of adjustment.

But GB's women are the reigning Olympic champions and will hope to turn their Pro League fortunes around as the top four earn a place in the two-legged Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifiers.

The top four in each league also progress to the Grand Final stage, which will begin at the end of June.

Marriage on the road

Luckily, because the men's and women's sides have played in the same country four times this year, all the travelling does not mean time apart for Hunter and Pinner.

"If one of us hadn't been picked it would have been four weeks apart at some stages," explained 32-year-old goalkeeper Pinner.

"But we've been in the same country for the vast majority of those trips. It's nice because I hate talking on Skype. It's a nice break from the hockey bubble too, going for a walk and getting a coffee - those types of things."

Hunter added: "We managed to spend Valentine's Day together in February. We didn't realise it was Valentine's Day until we tried to book somewhere to eat and it was impossible.

"We were playing in Perth and just went a stone's throw from the hotel. We can't go far on our rest days because the idea is that you rest."

Using time at home wisely

Now, GB are playing home matches at Lee Valley in London with a men's and women's double-header against Argentina on Saturday and against Belgium on Sunday.

Hunter and Pinner have been spending their well-earned downtime at home, in the same way many other couples do - catching up with Game of Thrones.

"I think it's the first time George and I have been at home together for more than two weeks this year," said Hunter.

"We're on Game of Thrones at the moment. It hasn't been as good this season but this week's episode was better."

Pinner, who has one European and two Commonwealth bronze medals to his name, added: "If you're two full-time sportspeople, there's not much room for being a married couple.

"During the week, we get home, cook, eat dinner and slob on the sofa as we recover ready for training the next day with minimal conversation at times because you're tired from training."

Both Pinner and Hunter insist they do not talk about hockey when they get home, but having two international athletes in one household understandably breeds quite a competitive environment.

"There's nothing with a sporting edge to it that is not competitive in our relationship," said Pinner. "Hockey gets left at the door but the competitive nature never leaves the house. She beat me once at Fifa years ago when I chose a rubbish team and she will not be quiet about that ever."

BBC Sport

SA Hockey salutes Wright and Joubert

The South African Hockey Association have today congratulated Peter Wright and Michelle Joubert on their selection to the FIH Pro Series Grand Final Series

With about 50 days to go until the start of the finale of the League, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has appointed the Officials (Umpires, Umpires Managers and Match Managers/Judges) who will be involved at the Wagener Stadium in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) next month (27-30 June). South Africa's Peter Wright is one of the five umpires selected for the men while Michelle Joubert is one of the five umpires selected for the Women.

Although the South Africans teams have not competed in the 2019 FIH Pro League, the umpiring teams and technical officials have continued to wave the South African Flag with pride. Wright, Joubert, Sean Rapaport, Annelize Rostron, Marelize de Klerk, Clive McMurray and Marie van Rensburg have all been called on at different times throughout the tournament with great success. It will also come as no surprise to hockey lovers in South Africa as Joubert has continued to perform at a high level after umpiring the 2016 Olympic Games final, while Wright has risen to the top of the game in recent years.

Wright earned the Golden Whistle Award (100 tests) last year, becoming the third South African Man to receive it after his brother John in 2006 and Deon Nel in 2015. Michelle Joubert herself earned the golden whistle award in 2015 joining Marelize de Klerk (2004) as the two South African Women to have earned the award.

SA Hockey CEO Marissa Langeni congratulated both on their selections.

"We are incredibly proud of the high standard of umpires we produce in this country and the continued performance of Peter and Michelle on the international stage. They are both consumate umpires with a fantastic quality and role models in our umpiring community. We wish them well for the FIH Pro League Grand Final series, we know they will do the country proud!"

SA Hockey Association media release

Dancer set for Belfast-base for Green Army rein

By John Flack

Sean Dancer in a coaching role with New Zealand

Ireland women’s hockey head coach Sean Dancer will be based in Belfast in a departure from the norm as he prepares to take over the reins from Graham Shaw.

His overseas predecessors, dating back to the turn of the century, including Dutch woman Riet Kuper, South African Gene Muller and New Zealander Darren Smith all took up residence in Dublin after their appointment.

Dancer was formerly assistant coach to New Zealand women while Dubliner Shaw moved in the opposite direction to take charge of the Black Sticks after steering Ireland to an unprecedented silver medal finish at the World Cup last August.

The 44-year-old Australian will fly in tomorrow and will scarcely have time to recover from the jet-lag as he will get down to work at the weekend at a national squad session in Banbridge.

However, Dancer will take his time settling in to the hot seat and will not take over the main coaching role until after the first stage of the Olympic qualifying process, being hosted at the Co Down venue from June 8-16.

Instead, former Ards coach Gareth Grundie will continue as interim head coach for the duration of the FIH World Series event at Havelock Park while Dancer will lend a helping hand.

It’s a common sense move as the new man will obviously need time to get to know the Irish players although he did have a chance to see them in action at the World Cup last August in London when he was assistant to Kiwi coach Mark Hager.

Hager is now at the helm with Great Britain and England women, having taken over in January when Dancer stepped up to take over as New Zealand interim head coach, before Shaw’s appointment.

It has earlier been thought that Dancer would have been unable to play an active role in the Banbridge tournament due to visa issues but those have now been resolved.

His decision to live in Northern Ireland and not Dublin had nothing to do with work permits and dual Commonwealth citizenship but was a personal choice.

“Sean expressed a preference to base himself in Belfast as he has friends in the north and, in any event, he will be travelling around the country just as he would had he decided to live in Dublin,” explained Hockey Ireland High Performance Manager Adam Grainger.

Instead, Dancer’s first major tournament in the main coaching role will be at the European Championships, scheduled for Antwerp in August, by which time he will be fully up to speed with the talent at his disposal.

The Ireland squad for the Hockey Series will be announced at the end of the month, with 32 players in contention for the cut.

It’s understood the panel will be reduced after this weekend’s session in Banbridge.

The Hook

Saving Pakistan from FIH topmost priority, says Brig Khokhar

We have great potential at junior level and we are planning to arrange more torus and provide maximum opportunities to juniors to enhance pool of players

Mohsin Ali

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan hockey Federation President Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar said Wednesday his top most priority was to get Pakistan hockey team cleared from FIH as soon as possible.

THE PHF chief was highly optimistic about world hockey governing body’s response and hoped for a very good outcome from the FIH disciplinary committee meeting, which would be held next month.

Talkin to the Nation, Brig Khokhar said: “I can understand PM Imran Khan facing lot of genuine issues and I am highly optimistic that he will soon handle things and spare some time for the national game and invite us for detailed briefing. After the passage of 18th amendment, sports were given to provinces. I had highly fruitful meetings with Sindh, KP and Punjab governments and I will soon meet Balochistan CM also as we need to jointly work for the promotion of hockey. I know federal government can’t spare much funds for sports but they should at least allocate amount to run day-to-day affairs or they should have the finances and just fulfil our requirements.”

He said the PHF had requested the FIH for personal appearance before the disciplinary committee and they are hopeful next month they will get the chance to explain their position and convince the FIH to either completely write out the fine proposed on Pakistan or impose some kind of token punishment and that too they should clear in parts.

“Pakistan hockey is going through important phase. We have started work on number of areas including the development squads. The visit of Uzbekistan hockey team has helped our juniors and clubs a great deal. After World Cup our senior team doesn’t had any major assignment as we failed to appear in Pro-Hockey League, which could have played highly important role in helping our team get into shape and play matches against different opponents. But our financial position prevented us from participating.”

He said wherever Uzbek team had visited whether in Gojra, Shekhupura, Okara and other parts it helped juniors. “We have ensured work on development squad and focused on providing chances to U-21 players. We managed to get lot of talent at junior level and let me tell all frankly, we have great potential at junior level and we are planning to arrange more torus and provide maximum opportunities to juniors to enhance pool of players as without working on juniors, we won’t be able to get desired results.”

He said the PHF was working on holding 65th Noor Khan National Hockey Championship in grand style soon after Eid as it is huge tribute to a national hero and we want to ensure Noor Khan Championship must live up to the namesake. “We are thinking about inducting three or four or may be more development squads teams in the national championship while my personal wish is to name the development squads after the former greats, who had given their entire lives for hockey while we could also give them provincial names as well. The championship is most likely could be held in Karachi or Lahore. We also want to conduct hockey-5 in Karachi as we are in contact with Navy, PAF and Army as well in this regard. But like I said the main objective at the moment is to avoid FIH ban and financial plenty on Pakistan because we are planning to host lot of international tournaments, which are not possible without FIH and Asian Hockey body.”

 He also requested IPC Minister Dr Fahmida Mirza to spare some time and meet the federation so they could inform her about the future plans and how they want to take Pakistan hockey forward. “I have worked tirelessly for the sake of hockey and I want to deliver for the country. Asif Bajwa will carry forward good steps taken by the former secretary and he will gradually inform about his future plans as well. We need to join hands to take Pakistan hockey forward,” Brig Khokhar concluded.

The Nation

Five-star performers to look out for in the final

Simone van der Colff  of Maties during the Varsity Hockey match at NWU Astro in Potchefstroom on May 10

It’s been another scintillating season of South Africa's Varsity Hockey. We’ve seen shootouts, showdowns and goals galore. With two nail-biting semi-finals behind us there’s almost no doubt that there will be fireworks on display in the final on Monday. Here are five standout players who could provide a title-winning moment of magic!

Lee-Ann Louwrens (Maties)

Lee-Ann Louwrens during the Varsity Hockey match at NWU Astro in Potchefstroom on May 13

Louwrens has been instrumental in Maties’ success. The WP U/21 player has also grown into the game and improved as the tournament has gone on. Her four field goals have been some of the most important goals for the team. Not only because they count for eight goals in Varsity Hockey, but because of the time they’ve been scored. She bagged a brace against defending champions, Tuks, in the semi-final, to help send them through to the final and secure it at their home astro. They call them links for a reason – she’s the link holding the chain together for Maties.

Carli Pretorius (NWU)

Ruthless from set plays, Pretorius has scored two penalty corners and an incredible four penalty strokes from the spot. With nerves of steel, she stepped up to sink a penalty stroke and second goal of the match against Kovsies in the semi-final to send her side through to the final. A skill that could very well come in handy should the final go down to a showdown. She’s also peaking at the perfect time in the tournament with four goals in her past two matches. All this  as a defender. Is there anything she can’t do? NWU will be hoping not.

Simone van der Colff (Maties)

You just can’t beat Maties’ shot-stoppers. Kristen Block and Simone van der Colff are two of the best in the country. Nicole le Fleur is a tough act to follow, but Van der Colff is rising to the occasion (at 1.77m tall she’s doing so in more ways than one).

Maties have incredibly only conceded six goals in the group stages and Van der Colff was at the centre of that success.
With four clean sheets in eight Matches, it’s a 50-50 whether Maties’ opposition will even net one goal – a statistic they’d love to ring true in the final.

Charne Maddocks (NWU)

Charne Maddocks during the Varsity Hockey match at NWU Astro in Potchefstroom on May 13

Maddocks is NWU’s captain fantastic. She’s got heart, she’s a natural leader and she also lets her stick do the talking. At just 20 years of age, she’s often one of the youngest players on the astro, but you wouldn’t say so. Maddocks bosses the game and reads it to perfection. If anyone can lead a team to victory at the intimidating Maties astro, it’s Maddocks! A deadly finisher who leads from the front, there’s a reason she’s often playing in green and gold.

Paige Phillips (Maties)

Paige Phillips of Maties during the Varsity Hockey match at NWU Astro in Potchefstroom on May 10

Phillips has a calming presence in the Maties squad. A Western Province senior player donning the captain’s armband – her experience is invaluable to the Maroon Machine. Phillips is vital to holding the team’s structure at the back and seems to see things a split second before her opponents in a game where split seconds are the difference between being 5-4 down or 6-5 up! Whether chipping in with goals, preventing opposition attacks, or picking out a timely assist, Phillips is the all-rounder that any title-winning team needs. 

Varsity Sports media release

Madibaz benefit from Varsity Hockey exposure

Madibaz women’s team faced some tough Varsity Hockey challenges

Port Elizabeth - The Madibaz women’s team faced some tough Varsity Hockey challenges over the past two weeks, but coach Andrew Beynon believes they are better for the experience.

The Nelson Mandela University outfit did not win any matches in the tournament, but gave an indication of their potential when they narrowly lost 3-2 to Wits in their final play-off.

Beynon said they would now turn their attention to the Eastern Province premier league, using the Varsity Hockey exposure to continue developing their overall play.

“We were by far the youngest group at Varsity Hockey and we have gained a huge amount of experience,” he said. “Playing hockey at this level can only benefit the group of players we have.”

He added that the performance against Wits gave Madibaz something on which to build.

“Wits had, in fact, beaten Maties, who were top of the log, the day before and so for us to put in that sort of performance is highly encouraging.

“The group remained positive throughout the campaign and full credit must go to them.”

Turning to their premier league campaign, Beynon said the team would be boosted by the availability of some senior players, who could not play in the Varsity Hockey tournament.

“That will bring some energy into the group,” he added.

“The reality is that we are in a building stage, but every opportunity to perform gives more confidence to the group and allows the players to grow.”

USSA tournament will benefit Madibaz players

With a big focus on building consistency in their performances, he said they knew there would be some tough games in the premier league.

“We obviously want to do well in the league, but there are some good teams out there and sides like Gelvan, Uitenhage, St Peters and Crusaders will provide testing competition.

“The players are also looking ahead to the USSA [University Sport South Africa] week in July and I feel the Varsity Hockey experience will stand us in good stead.

“More training in the build-up to the USSA tournament will benefit the players.”

Beynon acknowledged the backing they had received from Nelson Mandela University.

“We must say a huge thank you to the university for their support and commitment to help us grow women’s hockey in Eastern Province.”

Madibaz Sport hockey manager Cheslyn Gie said the tournament had been important for the players’ development.

“This group of players is very young and we were aware that it would be a big learning curve for them at this level,” he said.

“However, we did discuss that and although the ladies focused a lot on strength and conditioning, they will need to continue to work on that in the months ahead.

“We will also focus a lot more on tactical awareness as we conceded too many field goals from soft turnovers in the wrong areas.

“There were a few players excluded due to certain Varsity Sports rules and they will help to strengthen the team at the USSA week.”

Image: Madibaz player Sinead Walsh controls possession during a match in the Varsity Hockey tournament played at North-West University in Potchefstroom last weekend. Photo: Luke Thorrold

Fullstop Communications media release for Nelson Mandela University

Alexander Road set for hockey title defence

Alexander Road will be hoping to take their momentum from recent schools matches into the PE Central leg of the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge on Sunday.

Kiara Meyer (left) will be aiming to help Alexander Road retain the title in the Port Elizabeth Central leg of the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge at Alexander Road in PE on Sunday. Photo: Supplied
The tournament will take place at Alexander Road in Port Elizabeth, with the winners qualifying for the provincial finals on July 27 and 28.

It will be a busy weekend for the competition as the East London Inland edition will also be held on Sunday, at Kingsridge in King William’s Town.

Alexander Road coach Kyle Schimper said their team had changed from the side which won the PE Central title last year, but they had settled down well.

“Scoring six unanswered goals against Victoria Park this past weekend has definitely assisted our confidence in the goal-scoring department, which is crucial in the shortened version of the game,” he said, referring to the format of 20-minute matches.

“The big tactical challenge is finding the balance between attack and defence.

“Most teams tend to want to go on all-out attack but this can sometimes have a negative effect as an unexpected breakaway or counter-attack can lead to a goal against you.”

Schimper felt they would come up against some strong challengers on Sunday.

“Collegiate will be the big test in our pool and teams like Pearson and Woodridge always have strong hockey teams.

“Framesby is another team you cannot underestimate with their impressive improvement over the last few years.”

Having won the East London Inland tournament in the three years since its inception, Kingsridge coach Mark Taljaard is expecting fierce opposition from their rivals in King.

“It is going to be tough because someone else wants to win it now and we will have a target on our backs,” he said.

“It’s not the best position to be in. We will obviously be aiming to win again, but we know it won’t be easy and we can’t take anything for granted.”

He added that teams such as Queenstown Girls’ High and Aliwal North would be serious contenders.

“But in this format any of the teams have a chance and it means you have to play with care in the pool games.

“We do try to put the pressure on from the start because an early goal puts you on the front foot, but you also have to take into account the strengths and weaknesses of your opposition.”

Taljaard said the girls enjoyed the SPAR tournament, which gave them a chance to face schools they might not normally play.

“It’s great exposure for all the girls, with good competition but all played in the right spirit.”

Fullstop Communications media release for SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey challenge

FIH revamps ranking points, Azlan Shah Cup set to gain.

In what an only be considered a tremendous boost, the International Hockey Federation is set to award ranking points for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup next year.

In revealing this FIH President Dr.Narinder Dhruv Batra and FIH CEO Thierry Weil, revealed that this was inline with the revamp of the awarding article f world ranking points from 2020.

The duo were on a brief visit to Kuala Lumpur where they had an audience with His Majesty Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah ibni Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah to deliver the FIH President’s Award.

They were accompanied by AHF Vice President Dato Manjit Majid and AHF CEO Dato Tayab Ikram.

“We are revamping the manner in which points are awarded and more details will be revealed after the FIH Executive Board Meeting next month,” said Batra.

“For instance we will be awarding ranking points for matches and tournaments that are sanctioned by FIH.”

When pressed further on the mechanics of the ranking points award system, Thierry explained that though it was similar to what Football does, the new system was more innovative and fool proof and will reflect the progress made by teams.

“There will be windows for test matches or events to be held and the matches need to be sanctioned by FIH in order to qualify for the award of points,” explained Thierry.

“There will obviously be a limit to the number of such matches and also tournaments as they must be fully compliant of FIH Regulations in the organisation of the matches or tournaments

“There will be points awarded for wins and points deducted for loses, so this will ensure treams pay serious attention towards matches.

“For instance the Azlan Shah Cup Will qualify as its sanction by the FIH and is played in accordance to our tournament regulations with regards to registration of players.”

The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup was initiated in 1983 and this year saw a rather poor field in terms of participation due to the clash with the Pro League where the top ranked hockey nations were involved.

However with the award if ranking points , this will sure elevate the status of the tournament from next year and it will become a much sought after event to participate in, what more with the hosts Perak HA covering the board and lodging of participating teams

Malaysian Sports

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